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Questions pertaining to the Hebrew language, as related to Judaism. See the help center:

Turn the lower-right corner of the text toward you and up toward your eyes, so that you'll be looking at the text from an oblique angle. The alephs will seem to pop out of the page. I think it's becau …
answered Dec 23 '09 by Isaac Moses
You might want to check out The Word: The Dictionary That Reveals The Hebrew Source of English, by Isaac Mozeson (whose name I seem to have no trouble recalling, for some reason). I have heard this work criticized as consisting at least in part of folk etymology, so caveat emptor. …
answered Feb 12 '10 by Isaac Moses
R' Hirsch on Gen. 7:14 had a similar conjecture: The derivation of צפור is obscure. It is to be found in צפורן, nail, and in צפיר, synonymous with שעיר the hairy one, the goat. So that צפור could …
answered May 22 '11 by Isaac Moses
In the Online Etymological Dictionary's entry on the corresponding English word, it says that the Hebrew word is Mishnaic Hebrew for "my master," combining "Rav" - meaning "master" or "great one … " with the suffixx "-i" - meaning "my." "Rav," in turn, is associated with the Semitic root "R-B-B," which means "to be great or numerous." (You can find much more on this root in the "Resh" chapter (PDF) of the Hebrew Etymology Project.) …
answered Oct 22 '10 by Isaac Moses
, "phonetics and phonology." I guess that what happened when Ben Yehuda was constructing Modern Hebrew was that the morphology was readily available in written Biblical and Rabbinic Hebrew, but for … pronunciation, he had to rely on the sounds available on the Ashkenazi immigrant's tongue, which were European. If he'd used Hebrew/Semitic phonology, i.e. trying to get modern Israelis to speak the way …
answered Nov 15 '10 by Isaac Moses
the Talmud and explains what they really mean, in context. (As in Jastrow, most of the words are Aramaic rather than Hebrew, but they're relevant to the study of Hebrew Rabbinic texts, since they tend … to quote Talmudic passages or phrases frequently, and use a Hebrew that borrows many words from Talmudic Aramaic.) A book of acronyms, usually called something like "Otzar Rashei Teivot." (Here's an …
answered Jan 10 '11 by Isaac Moses
The religious implication of this ketubah is that it may be possible to use it to establish, in a Jewish court, certain facts about the listed bride and groom: That they were Jewish. On this basis, …
answered Jul 9 '15 by Isaac Moses
famous product of ancient Jericho, "an aromatic gum or spice," and says that it's a translation of the Hebrew "בֹּׂשֶׂם." It also lists a number of Aramaic terms for balsam, including "אפרסמון." See …
answered Sep 16 '16 by Isaac Moses
"Mi yodeya" or מי יודע in Hebrew means "who knows," where "mi" means "who" and "yodeya" is the masculine singular participle for the verb "know." This phrase is featured in the popular Passover song "Echad Mi Yodeya" and on the Q&A site for Jewish life and learning Mi Yodeya. …
answered Dec 9 '09 by Isaac Moses
The word in both of these verses is שַׁ֚בְתִּי (with the same cantilation, even), which is pronounced SHAVti, and means "I have returned." The root is שוב - ShWB, and while a ו can drop out of roots …
answered Feb 17 by Isaac Moses
R' Samson Raphael Hirsch, in his commentary on Deuteronomy 31:2, calls "לצאת ולבוא" "the general term used for the public efficient activity of national leadership," and points us to his full workup o …
answered Oct 5 '16 by Isaac Moses
The Hebrew term you're looking for is "שֵׁמוֹת" - shaimos or shemot (or some other transliteration along these lines). The word literally means "names" and, in this context, refers specifically to …
answered Oct 19 '15 by Isaac Moses
Yod, like most other letters, can only get a dot in it called a "dagesh chazak." This indicates that the affected consonant should be geminated, or doubled the way you would double, e.g. the 'b' sound …
answered Dec 30 '13 by Isaac Moses
No, Modern Hebrew, the contemporary spoken and written language, is not identical with Biblical Hebrew, the version[s] of the language in which Tanach was written. Hebrew, like all natural languages … , has evolved over time from the times of Tanach until today, and on top of that, Modern Hebrew is the result of an intentional revival and modernization of the language, including a great deal of …
answered May 26 '15 by Isaac Moses
R' Samson Raphael Hirsch, in his commentary on these two verses and on Genesis 2:5, says that "שיח," in both contexts, refers to "growth." In 21:15, R' Hirsch interprets "תַּחַת אַחַד הַשִּׂיחִם" as, …
answered Nov 6 '15 by Isaac Moses

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